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Saving Connecticut Shorelines (and Growing Kinder Families)

PJ Library of Greater New Haven is teaming up with the Town of Milford and Little Scientists to present “Good Deeds and Dunes,” a project to seed native plants for the Dune Renewal at Walnut Beach in Milford. The project will be held on Sunday, June 30, 2:30-5 p.m. at Walnut Beach in Milford.

“Our beautiful landscape is a web of life that we are just one part of,” explains Steven Johnson of Milford’s Natural Resources Department, who will give a family-friendly talk on the ecological benefit and importance of dunes and native vegetation to preserve our beaches. Johnson will then lead participants in planting native coastal growth. 

“The plants support a healthy food web of pollinators, butterflies and birds that enrich our lives. … The plants we put in the ground will adapt to the beach dunes, and enrich the wildlife habitat. Not only will this add beauty to the Long Island Sound, it will create more sustainable resilient dunes, preserving our shoreline for the foreseeable future,” Johnson says.

Funding for the plants comes from a national PJ Library grant for volunteer engagement. 

“Good Deeds and Dunes” is an especially important program for young families, says Dr. Heidi Dworkin, founder of the Little Scientist program, who will lead participants in exploring the tides. 

“Families with young children should encourage their children’s innate curiosity about the world around them,” she says. “As ‘little scientists,’ children learn to explore, experiment, think critically, recognize and solve problems. These are life-long skills that enable our children to understand that we only have one planet Earth and we must all protect our environment so that future generations will be able to enjoy it.”

In addition to shoreline and wildlife loss and devastation, when Hurricane Sandy hit, Milford’s shoreline residents suffered enormous losses. Three hundred people helped clean up the day after the storm – and encouraged Milford and area residents to become engaged in their community.

Learning to help the community is an especially important part of the program, says Stacey Battat, PJ Library educator of Greater New Haven. PJ Library is supported by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven.

“As we grow our consciousness around the fragility of the shorelines and our environment, programs like this allow families to come together and do good while helping our communities. In this way we become role models for our children, teaching by showing up, reinforcing our communal responsibility and the value of taking care of the earth and repairing the world – tikkun olam,” says Battat.

Participants are advised to wear hats and sunscreen. Children should bring shovels and work gloves.  

Admission to Good Deeds and Dunes is free and open to the public. Donations of $5-$10 are encouraged. For parking and shuttle information visit www.jccnh.org.

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